ATLANTA -- In three NBA seasons, Josh Smith has built a reputation on fierce play in the paint.
Smith won't hesitate to shoot jumpers, though, if the Atlanta Hawks need a big basket.
"I'm not a 3-point shooter," he said, "but if it comes to me, I'll take it."
Atlanta increased its lead for the eighth and final Eastern Conference playoff spot to four games over Indiana, which lost 92-77 at Boston.
Toronto is tied for fifth place with Washington and Philadelphia, but Raptors coach Sam Mitchell might file a protest with the NBA after the officials discounted T.J. Ford's basket with no time remaining.
Mitchell argued with referee Mark Wunderlich, who watched the instant replay, that Philips Arena officials started the clock early with just 0.5 seconds remaining.
"We had some opportunities tonight, but things just didn't go our way in the end," Mitchell said. "Sometimes these things happen."
Smith's 3-pointer from the right side, making it 114-113 with 2:05 left in overtime, gave the Hawks their first lead since Josh Childress hit a pair of free throws with 4:25 left in the second quarter.
Chris Bosh's three-point play put Atlanta back ahead with 1:18 to play, but Bibby followed with a 3 before Childress blocked Ford's jump shot. Smith's 3 from nearly the same spot as his previous attempt made it 122-118.
Ford thought his basket at the end of regulation should've counted. The Hawks were fooled badly on the play, which was designed for Ford to line up at the top of the key and run toward Carlos Delfino and catch an inbounds pass.
Instead, Ford ran easily into the lane and jumped for Delfino's alley-oop pass. The officials originally ruled that Ford banked in his basket as the horn sounded.
"I thought it could go either way," Ford said. "I didn't want to get too excited."
Bibby forced overtime with a 3-pointer from the left corner, taking Childress' inbound bounce pass from the baseline and faking out Ford.
Not one to show much emotion, Bibby denied that he celebrated with a little dance.
"It was a walk," he said with a smile. "My mom will not like it."
Leading by 17 on Nesterovic's runner with 1:09 left in the third, Toronto had almost nothing go right after Jamario Moon's 18-footer gave it a 105-98 lead with 5:19 remaining.
The Raptors made just one basket in their last nine possessions of regulation -- a 6-foot runner by Ford that gave them a 107-104 lead with 1:32 left.
Toronto was 15-for-20 from the field in the third quarter, led by Anthony Parker's 4-for-4, before everyone but Ford and Bosh went cold.
"When you're on the road playing in a tough environment, you have to execute," Bosh said. "The Hawks have been playing very well, and we knew they would make a run. We did a pretty good job withstanding the run, but everything just didn't fall our way tonight. I wouldn't take anything away from Atlanta. They played hard tonight."
For Smith, who grew up in Atlanta and entered the NBA straight from high school, winning a tight game was just what the playoff-starved Hawks needed.
"We're confident," Smith said. "We feel good about ourselves. We feel like the sky's the limit for this team. We're not taking nights off."
|Josh Smith's spirits are sky-high after he hits one of his two 3-pointers in overtime. (AP)|
|Atlanta (35-41) «||31||24||25||27||20||127|
|TOR:C. Bosh 24 Pts
TOR:C. Delfino 11 Reb
TOR:T. Ford 13 Ast
|ATL:J. Johnson 28 Pts
ATL:A. Horford 12 Reb
ATL:M. Bibby 12 Ast
|Players of the Game|
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|C. Bosh, PF||47||8-20||8-8||5||2||4||24|
|A. Parker, SG||37||5-8||0-0||3||3||4||12|
|R. Nesterovic, C||34||9-13||2-3||4||3||4||21|
|T. Ford, PG||32||11-20||1-1||2||13||1||23|
|J. Moon, SG||23||3-4||2-2||5||1||1||8|
|C. Delfino, SG||34||3-7||2-2||11||2||5||8|
|J. Calderon, PG||21||1-5||1-1||3||10||1||3|
|A. Bargnani, PF||21||7-12||0-0||3||0||1||17|
|J. Kapono, SF||16||1-3||2-2||1||2||3||4|
|M. Baston, SF||Did Not Play|
|P. Brezec, C||Did Not Play|
|K. Humphries, PF||Did Not Play|
|L. Johnson, PF||Did Not Play|
|J. Graham, SF||Did Not Play|
|J. Garbajosa, PF||Did Not Play|
|Complete Box Score|
|M. Bibby, PG||48||10-18||1-1||6||12||3||26|
|J. Johnson, SG||48||11-21||3-4||7||11||1||28|
|J. Smith, SF||43||8-17||5-6||9||4||4||24|
|A. Horford, PF||35||6-11||2-3||12||0||1||14|
|M. Williams, SF||28||5-11||5-6||4||2||4||15|
|J. Childress, SG||42||4-10||2-2||4||4||1||11|
|Z. Pachulia, C||16||3-4||3-3||4||0||3||9|
|A. Law, PG||4||0-0||0-0||1||2||0||0|
|S. Claxton, PG||Did Not Play|
|S. Stoudamire, SG||Did Not Play|
|S. Jones, PF||Did Not Play|
|J. Richardson, SF||Did Not Play|
|M. West, SG||Did Not Play|
|Complete Box Score|